Q&A: Symantec addresses the challenge of making Java a more manageable platform.
With Symantecs acquisition of Veritas in the summer of 2005, the combined companies took on the challenge of extending Symantecs role as a protector and manager of desktop systems into the enterprise data center. On the eve of this years JavaOne conference, Technology Editor Peter Coffee spoke with Bob Maness, vice president of product operations in Application Performance Management Solutions for Symantec, in Cupertino, Calif., about the mandate to make Java a more manageable platform and the opportunities that Java technologies and standards afford to that end. Also participating in the discussion was Product Marketing Manager Sateesh Narahari.
Whats the connection between Symantecs application-performance management offerings and the issues that are on the agenda at JavaOne?
Maness: During development, the developer is often not so much concerned with performance as with putting the pieces together. Only when the application is put into production does the developer find that the application did not behave as expected. So its all about pushing application performance into the tool suite thats needed to manage the data center to the service levels that IT is being held to. Its helping developers meet expectations throughout the application life cycle.
In Javas early years, its demands for processor and memory resources often eclipsed its strengths. Has 10 years of Moores Law progress overcome those issues and let Javas advantages emerge from that shadow?
Maness: Javas made great strides in the enterprise, and were seeing that in the explosive adoption of Web-based applications that are built on Java in online banking, ERP [enterprise resource planning], all the multitier applications. Javas the fastest-growing tier in that end-to-end application transaction path.
Another thing thats helped Java is the introduction of .Net. Microsoft now talks a lot about doing the same things that Java does, and it makes Java look more mature by comparison. Customers see a role for .Net on the front end of an application, and Java on the back end. What theyre saying is that there are some cool things that .Net can provide, but it introduces some immaturity in manageability and performance, while Java has more mature tools.
Guru Jakob Nielsen offers advice on designing applications for usability. Click here to watch the video.
Developer tools have always relied on Javas end-to-end object orientation to allow better insight into code, to tell the developer things about the code with more specificity and more transparency than with other programming environments. Does that carry over to the management side, with Java giving better access to the knobs that control the black box?
Maness: Its more exposed, but, like any exposure, that can create initial difficulties in management. Having more flexibility in building code and more components exposed is not the same as having standard ways of managing those components. If you look at the mainframe world, over time you got very mature ways of managing that environment.
The Symantec i3 tools started out as ways to manage databases. As Web-based applications became more important in enterprises, we saw a need to manage not just the Java tierthe Web application server tierbut also the effects of that tier on the others. IT management is being held accountable for the whole end-user experience. When youre doing a shopping-cart transaction and you get an hourglass and you walk away, the application didnt do its jobeven if everything was up and all the code was working fine.